The Makabayan bloc filed a resolution on Wednesday with the House of Representatives to condemn the Department of National Defense’s (DND) one-sided cut in its agreement with the University of the Philippines (UP) that prohibits unauthorized military entry and police within university campuses.
According to Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago, the purpose of the resolution is to announce the stand of the House of Representatives on academic freedom and to ensure that schools are a safe place for the exchange of views and expression of opinion.
“With this, we hope to send a strong message that legislators of the House of Representatives and as representatives of the people are standing up for the defense of academic freedom and ensuring that schools are safe spaces for safe exchange of ideas and opinions all for the service of the people and the nation,” said Elago in an online press conference.
Other members of the Makabayan bloc, most of whom are also UP graduates, argue that the DND cannot simply break the UP-DND Accord.
Makabayan bloc files resolution to oppose UP-DND Accord termination
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said there is an existing Administrative Code of 1987 which must first have mediation or arbitration in the dispute between government agencies and government-owned institutions, through the secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) who will stand as a mediator.
“It’s a mutually-binding agreement negotiated by both parties and, in fact, even in the Administrative Code of the Philippines,” said Zarate.
“Kung mayroon talang dispute at naniniwala ang DND na wala nang batayan ang agreement na ito then they have to submit to some forms of mediation or arbitration under the Administrative Code at ang mayroong papel dito sa usapin na ito ay ang Secretary of Justice,” he added.
Although Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana in the UP-DND Accord, the legislator also believes that the UP-DND Accord is still not effectively terminated without the DOJ’s statement.
He said this is a reason to still ban the entry of police and soldiers into the school without the permission of UP.